Exploring Your Options
With so many institutions to choose from and endless programs out there, as you begin your research, you will need to keep a few questions in mind:
- What institutions offer your major or area of concentration?
- What type of program is best suited for you?
- What classes do you need to take? Will they transfer once you return to your host country?
- Can you study in another language (are you interested in studying another language abroad)?
- Where do you want to live (university residence halls, host family, apartment off campus)?
- What's your budget (do you have scholarship or financial aid)?
- When is the best time to for me to study abroad (Fall, Spring, Summer semester)?
- How long do you plan on studying abroad (3 months, 1 year, 3+ years)?
- Is there convenient transportation at the institution?
- Need to learn more about your desired institution? Request more information by visiting out Contact Us page.
Managing your Money
You’re about to embark on an unforgettable study abroad adventure. The last thing that you’d want to worry about is under estimating your budget. So how can you best prepare yourself financially? Below is some useful information that can help answer that question. Another helpful resource that we recommend visiting is xe.com to learn about the foreign exchange rates.
U.S. Currency and Cash
It is always useful to have cash on-hand as you may not have immediate access to a bank when traveling so consider carrying a small amount of U.S. currency with you. Exchange your host country currency in small denominations such as $20, $10, $5 and $1 of about $100-$200. You will find it useful when traveling through airports and purchasing necessities. If you cannot exchange money before your departure to the United States, there are Foreign Exchange services located in airports and train stations upon arrival. Additionally, be aware of foreign exchange rates and exchange fees. Visit xe.com to see how much your host currency is compared to the U.S. currency.
Credit cards are widely accepted and used in the United States. It is convenient to have a credit card on-hand in case of emergencies or where traveler’s checks are not accepted. Commonly accepted credit cards are MasterCard, American Express, Visa, and Discover Card. Remember to speak to your bank and learn about the viable options of using Credit Cards abroad (especially when using it to withdraw money) because there are transaction fees and high interest charges that may incur. Additionally, it is important to learn the procedures you need to take if your card gets lost or stolen.
Debit Cards (ATM Cards)
Debit cards are useful and a different alternative than getting a credit card. Debit cards allow you to withdraw funds from your host country bank account, but keep in mind that, depending on your credit card, there daily withdrawal limits. Exchange rates also apply when withdrawing money from ATM’s but are usually better than exchanging currency at a foreign exchange service. If you plan on using a Debit card, remember to check with your bank to see where it is useable and which ATM’s won’t charge additional fees. If your card gets stolen or lost, remember to inform your bank or credit card company so they can freeze your account.
Traveler's cheques is a safer option of carrying money. They are issued by major banks and travel agencies and can be used like cash or exchanged for foreign currency and can be replaced if lost of stolen. While this is a viable option for carrying money, always speak with your bank to learn how traveler’s cheques work. They are easily exchanged for U.S. currency when you visit banks and may be accepted at a form of payment in restaurants and stores. However, only carrying traveler’s cheques may be a concern when it’s your only source of funds and you cannot get to a bank to exchange it for cash.
Sending and Receiving Money
In case of emergencies or low funds, research options where your parents/family can easily send you money. For example,
- Purchasing a cashier’s check in the currency of your host country at their bank and sending it to you by mail
- Wire you money through your bank account
- Having a certified check, made in your name, deposited into your account (process may take up to two weeks before withdrawal can be made).
Whichever option(s) you choose, always have a plan in case your money runs out or in cases of emergency. Remember to contact your bank for further information prior to traveling abroad.
Download Currency Exchange Apps
Now with Smart Phones and access to many resources, there are currency exchange apps that you can download to help you through your travels. For example, GlobeCovert, XE Currency, and Convert Units are all FREE apps.
Educational advising centers around the world that provide information to prospective students and scholars about U.S. study.
Information and resources about planning and financing your studies in the United States.
Department of State
Information on Student Visas and Immigration.
Study in US
Tons of great resources about living and studying in the United States. Check out their checklist of things to do before you travel too!